Mr Gay UK pledges portion of winnings to HIV charity
Newly coronated Mr Gay UK, Samuel Kneen has pledged a portion of his prize money to the HIV/AIDS charity, the Terence Higgins Trust.
Kneen, 22, is to give a portion of the £2000 prize money to the charity in support of a friend who was diagnosed with HIV.
The Toni and Guy hairdresser told WalesOnline: “I told them when I entered the contest that I know somebody who has got HIV and I want to support him. It is something I feel strongly about.
A month after his coronation at Mission bar in Leeds, Kneen also discussed his mission to raise awareness for the charity and around HIV and Aids: “I walked around Cardiff on World AIDS Day last year and the shops didn’t know what I was talking about when I was asking if they had any ribbons for sale.
“I’d like to make a difference if I can, and help people know more about it.”
The second consecutive Mr Gay UK to hail from Cardiff, Kneen entered the competition impulsively on a night out in Cardiff after splitting up with an ex-boyfriend.
As well as the prize money, a professional photo shoot in Morocco and the prestige of the title, Kneen was also awarded his first modeling contract with underwear brand, Lick.
He also talked about the confidence he got from entering the competition, and that despite what comes next for him, he said that he enjoyed the pride he got from friends and family, and was, “humbled,” by his popularity with the voters.
Joshua Hall, Services Manager at THT’s Cardiff office, told PinkNews.co.uk the charity was “very grateful for the donation from Samuel.
“Not only does it help raise funds for people living with HIV locally, it will also help raise awareness around the issues of HIV. One of THT’s aims is to raise awareness to the general public that HIV still exists and that it can be prevented.”
After months of competing for the title, Kneen is currently deciding whether to enter Mr Gay Europe later this year as well as his holiday in Morocco.
Dino Gamecho was the last person to win the title, in 2009. The competition returned in 2011 due to popular demand.